Imagine That

Mark L. Sheppard:

A short, but straightforward take on growing the PLN from Urbie Delgado. Enjoy the read!

Originally posted on Puzzling Mix:


I was an avid reader until Mrs and I started having kids. Arthur C. Clarke was a favorite. Something he wrote came back to me tonight.


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — Arthur C. Clarke

I go far afield from what I know when I grow my PLN. Curiosity is my driver.

Photograph a COMPILE cartoon showing teachers sharing ideas

COMPILE is sharing ideas

When I started participating at EdCamps it was dizzying: so much new stuff. Curiosity turned me onto following scientists, too.


This week I learned of The Society for Neuroscience conference in DC. Pouring over #SfN14′s backchannel I began following neuroscientists. Their tweets made me curious. They are into some cool things.


So what do I ask of my PLN? Take my thinking where my own probably wouldn’t.

I’ll do the same for you.

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Dear Dave: a letter to a colleague on metaphors, PLN, and perceptions

Dear Dave:


“Dear Sigmund…”

I hope you’ll forgive this departure from my usual blog format, but I was inspired by Sidney Friedman’s diary dialogue with Sigmund Freud in M*A*S*H and thought I’d give this a go.

Tuesday brought to light some big revelations on how people react so strongly to some blog posts when others remain read, but un-commented. As an examination of the dynamics of social media it’s fascinating, but that’s not quite where I was going, so bear with me.

Of course, I’m speaking of your post on the Snake Oil in the PLN. I liked it. But maybe not for the reasons that would be obvious. Read the rest of this entry

Shared #WorkOutLoud Update

I’m including an update I fired off to the team this morning about what we have on the go internally (names changed to initials for obvious privacy reasons). It will give you a sense of some of the things I have been working on as well as what I am doing to communicate it to the broader audience.

Things are moving along well at our little learning ‘skunkworks’ at CHO.  The learning inventory has been completed and it is doing the first round of feedback with the TLs and PCs.  My thanks to CG, AT, SF, TJ (and a few others who wish to remain anonymous) for their input and feedback in the creation of the inventory and helping me with findings and recommendations.  More to follow at the TL meeting on the 19th. Read the rest of this entry

A shout-out to Working out Loud!

Lots of changes and lots of updates, but the short version is that I’ve moved on from my engagement with the RCAF and I’m now working very close to home for a really great people services firm, Northern Lights Canada.

My big win this week was getting the OK from the CEO to engage in some #workoutloud and #showyourwork activities, so I can actively share some of the work I have going on. Leading and stewarding the transformation of Learning & Development is my major focus right now so I’m genuinely excited to shed some light on this work.

Watch this space for updates and examples of what’s going on behind the scenes on the first project: revamping the onboarding program for new hires.

The canvas library for visual thinking

See on Scoop.itThe Toolkit

Mark Sheppard‘s insight:

A very nice collection of visual thinking frameworks.


See on

A borrowed rant, but one I can relate to

A good friend and former co-worker recently posted an open rant on FB after receiving a take-home package following the first day of school. While the spin is Canadian, I think lots of us can relate, particularly those with school-age kids.

<open rant> My school board has been taken over by lawyers! First day of school package includes: new policy on locked schools, warning that kids can strangle themselves in playground, numerous release forms for everything you can imagine (same info 8 times). My favourite form informs me that “participation [in recess] involves risk of injury, minor or serious, including permanent disability.” Here is my favourite part: “For specific examples of injuries related to the activity, contact the school.” Really?
Dear School Board Administrators: stop watching CNN and Fox. Please focus on providing an engaging educational environment. Stop teaching my kids that the world is hostile. We live in Canada!
Thank you.
</end rant>

So, where exactly do we start with this?

When did the start of school trigger a flurry of this kind of liability paperwork? Where have we, as a societly, allowed the public education system to degenerate into this politicized, litiginous, bureaucratic juggernaut? I dunno about you, but I’m starting to look for the remaining three horsemen.

A little civil disobedience: hacking the information harvest

Vendor: Hi there! We have an awesome new white paper that we want to share with the community! Here’s the link

Me: Hey, cool! <clicks link>

Vendor: Oh yeah, before you can get this amazingly captivating little tidbit you need to provide us with all this information so our sales reps can follow-up with you after you read it.

Me: Oh boy, here we go again. Read the rest of this entry

$h!t my SME says – an archive post from colleague Trina Rimmer

SME/ID Anger (image credit: Microsoft Corporation)

How often do we do this when dealing with SMEs? Or vice-versa?  (image credit: Microsoft Corporation)

Yep, I’m certain there’s a book in there somewhere…

My PLN colleague, Trina Rimmer, was sharing a few tongue-in-cheek thoughts about SMEs today (through Twitter).  Granted, as she points out, there’s likely communications faults on both sides but I think we tend to view the “ID/SME” relationship with a reasonable amount of good gallows humour particularly after the fact. Read the rest of this entry

Calling out the vendors: Lessons learned

I’m pretty impressed with a recent series of events where respected L&D community member Judy Katz called out vendor MindFlash on their rather interesting “engagement measurement/assistance” tool, FocusAssist. The tool was discussed in this article from Learning Solutions Magazine.

You can read Judy’s post on the matter here, and a quick check of the #FocusAssist hashtag on Twitter will shed some additional light.

So, I learned a few things by watching this drama unfold, and by participating.

1. The L&D community appreciates the benefits of EdTech, but is also profoundly aware of the scary possibilities when the (potentially) wrong kind of tech is introduced to educational settings with (seemingly) little thought on impact and abuses.

2. We are quick to stand up for one another. It’s a nice thing to know that folks like @aaronesilvers, @moehlert, @reubentozman, and others will have your back when it’s needed (and sometimes even when you don’t know you need it).

3. There are some vendors who aren’t afraid to think outside the box and try solutions, even ones that may not be widely understood. It’s about prototyping and learning from the experience.

4. Judging from the positive and appreciative response from the vendor, it reinforces the notion that, as a community, we shouldn’t be afraid to call vendors out when we see something that doesn’t necessarily fit with our values and notions of what is right. There’s a two-fold value in doing so: i) we start thinking a little more critically about what we see, and ii) we learn a bit more about the vendor through their response (or lack of response).

5. Social technologies and an engaged L&D community can make things happen pretty quickly.  So, kudos to Judy for raising the issue, and equal kudos to Randhir Vieira from MindFlash, not only for joining the conversation, but also for being open about what they don’t know.  I think that speaks well of them.

It was interesting to watching this all unfold. It will be equally interesting to see if the conversation continues.

I Am Canadian, A Reply to Bell’s Open Letter

Mark L. Sheppard:

While not specific to learning, the stance of Rogers and Bell has an impact on the ability of Canadians to harness high-speed wireless networks for anywhere-anytime learning. We already pay exorbitant rates. Lets get some competition in here.

Originally posted on Angelus Novus:

Dear Mr. Cope,

Amongst your many traits as CEO of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE), tenacity, enthusiasm for your trade, and perseverance top the list. Conspicuous in its absence from your letter, however, is your sense of irony.

You begin the “unusual step of writing to all Canadians” (Strange, isn’t it, that “Canada’s Top Communication Company” should find it unusual to communicate with its customers?) with a history lesson, ostensibly in the interest of helping us “understand a critical situation” now facing the wireless industry: the potential entrance of an American company into the Canadian market.

You inform us that, since Parliament granted Bell its charter in 1880, Bell has spent 133 years “investing in delivering world-class communications services to Canadians.” An impressive track record!

You must, however, be aware that Bell’s permission to operate in Canada was initially obtained by agents acting in the interest of the (American) National Bell…

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